Wilhelm List studied at the Academy in Vienna, where he was a pupil of Griepenkerl, and then attended the classes of William Bouguereau in Paris.
In 1897 he was co-founder of the Viennese Secession and exhibited there first.
Comparable to Gustav Klimt, he revealed himself as a remarkable portraitist, as shown in 'The Woman in black and white', where his technique of divided colours and fine long brush strokes, with a dominance of blue, evokes the works of Edmond Aman-Jean during the same period.
But List is best known for his engravings, where he used wood and lithography in turn. He collaborated on the review 'Ver Sacrum' from 1898 to 1903, and he was one of the twelve illustrators of the 1902 catalogue for the Viennese Secession which was dedicated to Beethoven.
He left the Vienna Secession together with the artists around Klimt in 1905.